1984 Salt Lake Tribune, lifestyle section, article on me and my collection of slot machines
- Rare slot machines including Aitkens front, Rollatop, Superior Races, Mills Futurity, Dewey, baseball front, and many others.
1983 Utah Historical Society Exhibit – cash pay pinball machines Roulette layout wheel of fortune
- 1983 Utah Historical Society Exhibit
A variety of punchboard’s. Punchboards were widely used in Utah throughout the 30s 40s and 50s
The IRS required a “per coin slot” tax on gambling devices. Right up into the late 70s, there were autonomous and rip roaring parts of Utah that the Utah State police were just not allowed in. Many fraternal organizations in those mining towns continued to operate slot machines. The state of Utah was impotent in prosecuting these places and called on the IRS for help. In 1979 a raid was conducted and the slot machines were seized by the IRS.
In 1980 the Utah Historical Society petitioned Sen. Orin Hatch to save these machines from destruction and donate them to the Utah Historical Society for examples of “gambling in Utah”. In 1983 the Historical Society contacted me and together we put up an exhibit called “Gambling in Utah, The Fickle Goddess”.
My father, Gene Phelps, Bought this cafe as a rental.
These are his punchboards and I may have delivered them.
This is Joe Ruby’s bar just 100 feet south of my antiques warehouse.
Look at all the punchboards and other great bar items from the 1950s:
Animal mounts, shuffleboard, neon, jukebox counter boxes.
And Joe is toasting to you.
Of course these punchboards came from my warehouse in about 1950.
These photos give a better idea of the context of the punchboard. For more information about punchboards, view Wikipedia. Or, for their history in Utah, click here.
The Lunch counter at the Ambassador Club
The Copper King Saloon – Bingham Canyon Utah
Punchboards in a 1950 Minnesota bar
A pile of smashed slot machines and punchboards
which were confiscated by ex-GI forces
during raids on gambling houses in 1946
[Rol-a-Top in the middle]
Emerald Club Leadmine Utah
From the TV show “The Untouchables”
Police Investigate The Ambassador Club in downtown Salt Lake
Back to Top
A photo op for the cops. A week later all the punchboards were back up.
Salt Lake City 1963
WYUTA STAR CLUB
Right on the border of Utah and Wyoming near Evanston – The bar was on the Wyoming side and the cafe in Utah, with a dance hall in the back. Liquor could not be served on Sunday in Wyoming, so the 3.2 beer sales on the Utah side made it a popular place to go even for those from Wyoming. – U.S.189 – the Lincoln Highway